Scott’s Senate Office Shake-Up
After many, many moons together, Senator Rick Scott and Jackie Schutz Zeckman are partying ways, kind of. Zeckman is leaving her post as his chief of staff to head the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) that Sen. Scott was just tapped to chair.
Very few people (but not me) know that Jackie started out as a low woman on the campaign totem pole during Scott’s first gubernatorial race and work her way up to being his senate office’s COS. Ya see loyalty in politics does exist.
Scott’s senatorial office shake-up will also see his Communications guru Chris Hartline move over to the NRSC, and his senate campaign political director and current deputy COS Craig Carbone will replace Schutz. READ MORE
FYI, Scott’s play here is brilliant. He is in charge of retaining the GOP majority in the Senate, and come 2022, Sen. Marco Rubio is up for reelection and the GOP could be in a position to gain at least 3 more seats in the Senate. Republicans will most-likely add to their 2024 gains in the House, and take control in that chamber,
Florida Democrats are licking their election night wounds by pivoting towards Gov. Ron DeSantis over COVID, saying that the governor isn’t doing much to prevent the spread of the virus, and have been calling for more lockdowns and for Floridians to wear masks.
Democrats think they have a mandate now because former Vice President Joe Biden may become president after all the legal rumblings are laid to rest, but now Biden is second-guessing himself and appears to be backtracking his unpopular promise to shut down the country in hopes to contain the virus. READ MORE
Over Tampa Bay
Here is a pretty cool shot of Tampa Bay/ St. Petersburg from way up in the air. If you look close enough you can probably see that big neon sign that points to Big Boy Schorsch’s favorite hamburger grease pit. I hear it’s a 24-hour joint and he has his very own doggy bag footlocker.
2020 Election Update
Rick Scott @SenRickScott-Exciting news for Florida! Great to see Patrick Air Force Base as a finalist to be the future home of the U.S. Space Command headquarters. There’s no better place like Florida’s very own Space Coast!
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz @RepDWStweets–There is no time to waste when it comes to #COVID relief, yet the GOP continues their deadly tactics of delay and denial. Republicans need to accept the facts, acknowledge the crisis and immediately come to the table to work on COVID relief.
Mario Diaz-Balart @MarioDB-It was wonderful to meet with Congressman-elect @MayorGimenez and his wife, Lourdes. Gimenez brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to Congress, and I look forward to continue working with him on issues important to our community.
Rep. Stephanie Murphy @RepStephMurphy–This administration must allow the transition process to start immediately. That means ensuring the President-elect is receiving intelligence briefings and that government agencies are beginning to hand off the coronavirus pandemic response.
US Rep. Darren Soto @RepDarrenSoto–Today, I voted to advance the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 – a proposal to create 1 MILLION new apprenticeship opportunities to help Americans get back to work. This is critical to building back our workforce in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rep. Val Demings @RepValDemings–By refusing to pass federal covid relief, GOP politicians have put local leaders in an impossible position. Individuals and businesses need federal support in order to limit the spread of the virus while still making ends meet. It’s not a luxury, it’s required.
Nikki Fried @nikkifried –See any Governors NOT meeting with @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris on this list? Maybe @GovRonDeSantis was too busy peddling election conspiracy theories to build a working relationship with the next President and Vice President.
“Rick Scott announces major shakeup in his office” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Today, Florida Senator Rick Scott (R) announced a shakeup, a good shakeup, in his legislative office, announcing that Craig Carbone will be serving as his Chief of Staff, effective January 2021. This comes directly after the departure of his former Chief of Staff, Jackie Schutz, who will be serving as the Executive Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRCC). Schutz is Scott’s longtime aide who has worked her way up from a campaign travel aide to being his most trusted advisors and chief of staff. In a statement, the former Governor of Florida announced that “Craig has been an integral part of my team for years and his organizational skills and commitment to serving the state of Florida will be a huge asset to me and my office.” Further expressing his gratitude to Schutz’s work, Senator Scott noted that “Jackie is truly a powerhouse and has been an integral part of my team since I was Governor – she successfully led my campaign for U.S. Senate, and has helped build our office from the ground up.” Both Carbone and Schutz are not the only ones moving forward to other leadership positions. Scott’s Communications Director Chris Hartline is also leaving for the NRSC.
“Cuban-Americans “voted accordingly” when they rejected Socialism and progressivism” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Florida Democrats were stunned on Election Day when droves of Latinos, namely Cuban-Americans, voted in favor of President Donald Trump and denounced the growing Democratic Party-supported Socialist agenda. When Giancarlo Sopo, former Democrat and congressional staffer for Florida Rep. Joe Garcia left his party and became an Independent, South Florida politicos were scratching their heads as to why Sopo, a prominent Democrat would just abruptly get up and leave. Sopo didn’t just leave his party, he left politics and joined the private sector, but still, dabble in posting his right-of-center political opinion in different news publications, and is now the Trump campaign’s national director of rapid response for Spanish language media. In a recent USA Today story about how and why Hispanics, namely those who have experienced socialism in Western Hemisphere countries like Cuba and Venezuela, Sopo spoke for thousands of Latinos who he said “voted accordingly” this past election when they denounced the “socialism and the progressive agenda” that the Biden campaign and self-styled Socialist Democrats in the U.S. Congress had been campaigning on.
“Gaetz: ‘Dead people don’t always vote, when they do, they prefer to vote by mail’” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – As the hand vote recount in Georgia nears an end, and as President Trump’s campaign presses forward with more legal challenges to the results of the November 3rd general election, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz (R) says that Trump “isn’t fighting for his own political fortunes and these legal battles, he’s fighting for the rest of us we all deserve elections where we don’t have people voting in more than one state, we don’t have people voting after they’ve changed their address.” Rep. Gaetz made the remark during a late-night appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” where the popular two-term congressman said that because of significant scale of ballot discrepancies in Georgia, that perhaps the “the people who ran operation warp speed get put in charge of counting the ballots in Georgia.” “If we can flip Georgia by showing that there was not accurate counting there, then I think it pulls back the whole veneer that the media and others tried to put on these on these mail-in ballots,’ said Gaetz. Gaetz believes that once Republicans flip the state of Georgia, then Pennsylvania is next, and all the questions that have arisen during this election cycle about voting integrity will be addressed, like “the spike in 90-year-olds “ who Gaetz says registered to vote in droves in comparison to the “prior four years combined, including two election years “.
“Ilhan Omar Botches Bible Scripture In EPIC FAIL Attempt To School Rubio on Christianity” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) on Wednesday botched her attempt to school Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on the Christian faith, quoting a scripture verse that was filled with errors in spelling and the misinterpretation of the verse. Rubio took to Twitter criticizing Georgia Democratic Senate candidate, Rev. Raphael Warnock past sermon remark where he claims that a person can not “serve God and the military” at the same time. “Not shocked #Georgia Democrat Senate candidate Raphael Warnock said “You cannot serve God and the military” at the same time,” Rubio tweeted. “These & even crazier things is what the radicals who control the Democratic party’s activist & small-dollar donor base believe.” Omar, a devout Muslim attempted to cast Rubio as a liar for his “smears” of Warnock’s remarks, alleging the Florida Senator is willing to “make a mockery” of his Christian faith by alleging the Reverend sermon was a verse from the Bible. “Mathews 6:24,” Omar tweeted that included an emoji of the embarrassed face. “‘No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money,’” Omar added. “The lies and smears of the GOP have no boundaries, but this is a disgrace and shameful.”
“Trump Campaign File For Partial Recount In Wisconsin” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – The Trump Campaign will seek a partial recount in Wisconsin, selecting two heavily Democratic countries to file a petition to recount votes, citing these locations had “the worst irregularities.” The two counties the Trump campaign selected were Milwaukee and Dane, stating reasons of “illegally altered absentee ballots, illegally issued absentee ballots, and illegal advice given by government officials allowing Wisconsin’s Voter ID laws to be circumvented.” “The people of Wisconsin deserve to know whether their election processes worked in a legal and transparent way. Regrettably, the integrity of the election results cannot be trusted without a recount in these two counties and uniform enforcement of Wisconsin absentee ballot requirements. We will not know the true results of the election until only the legal ballots cast are counted,” Trump campaign counsel Jim Troupis said in a statement. “We will not stop fighting for transparency and integrity in our electoral process to ensure that all Americans can trust the results of a free and fair election in Wisconsin and across the country.” Wisconsin election officials confirmed that they received a partial payment of $3 million wired from the Trump campaign Tuesday night. A statewide price tag was projected to cost $7.9 million. “The Wisconsin Elections Commission has received a wire transfer from the Trump campaign for $3 million,” WEC confirmed Wednesday morning as they were waiting for the petition to be filed to began informing the countries of a recount preparation.
“Florida swing district Dem says she didn’t lose because of socialism – blames this reason instead” by Fox News’ Caitlin McFall – Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell took to twitter to dive into why she lost re-election in the district she flipped in 2018, pointing to a broader issue regarding how the Democratic Party campaigns, and why it lost seats in the November general election. “Many have commented on Democratic losses in South Florida and with Latinos across the country,” Mucarsel-Powell wrote on twitter Wednesday in a lengthy thread. “Let me set the record straight.” The Florida congresswoman shot down recent claims from her own party that left-wing policies and “socialism” are to blame for the hit House Democrats took this election. Instead, she pointed to a fundamental campaigning issue targeting Latino voters. “South FL is extremely diverse. We are unique. And when others try to treat Latinos as a monolithic group, they miss the nuances,” the first South American immigrant to be elected to Congress wrote on the social media platform. Mucarsel-Powell, an immigrant from Ecuador, faced a competitor of Cuban heritage in a district that includes parts of the Miami suburbs and the Florida Keyes. It is an area that encompasses not only one of the largest Cuban American populations in Florida, but in the U.S. according to the Pew Research Center.
“South Florida Airport Officials, Travelers React to CDC’s Thanksgiving Travel Warning” by NBC 6’s Ari Odzer – Planning to travel for the holidays? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is hoping you stay home instead. On Thursday, the CDC recommended Americans not travel for Thanksgiving. “Amidst this critical phase of the Covid19 pandemic, CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period,” said Dr. Henry Walke of the CDC. “For Americans who decide to travel, CDC recommends doing so as safely as possible and by following the same recommendations for everyday living during this pandemic, wear a mask in public settings and on public transportation, stay six feet away from others not from the same household and wash your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer.” It’s a little early for Thanksgiving travel to take off, but travelers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Thursday were doing their part to be pandemic safe. Everyone had a mask on, it’s mandatory, and some had thoughts about the CDC warning. “I think that’s a decision for every individual family to make, if you have high-risk members of your family you should consider maybe skipping it this year,” said Danielle Pomerantz, who was flying back home to Austin, Texas. “We’re following protocol, we’re wearing the masks, doing what we should be doing so we can feel comfortable,” said Chana Goldberg, who said she and her husband have already recovered from Covid-19. Naja Miller and Cobi Williams were headed to Arizona for a Thanksgiving reunion with family members there. They were asked, on a scale of one to ten, how nervous were they about traveling to this gathering?
“Florida named finalist for US Space Command headquarters” by AP’s Brendan Farrington – After first being shunned, Florida is a finalist to be the home of the U.S. Space Command headquarters, the U.S. Air Force announced Thursday. Patrick Air Force Base in Brevard County is one of six finalists for the headquarters of the military’s space operations. The Air Force initially announced six other finalists in 2019, and Florida wasn’t on the list. But the Air Force restarted the selection process because of complaints that it hadn’t been transparent enough. “It was very opaque, it was not well defined, and kind of out of the blue — Florida was completely excluded,” U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz said in a phone interview. “Florida was out of it. I mean, we were done.” But with the new look at sites to host the headquarters, Florida is now in the running. The presence of NASA, private space companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin, universities that focus on engineering, the military presence in central Florida and the Cape Canaveral launch pads will make Florida competitive, Waltz said. “It’s just a no-brainer for Florida to be in the final consideration,” said Waltz, a Republican who is on the House Armed Services and Science, Space and Technology committees. “Space is in our DNA. It has been for the last five decades. It’s all right here.” The other locations on the final list are Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, Redstone Army Airfield in Alabama and Port San Antonio in Texas.
“Florida sheriff’s office keeps secret list of students it believes will ‘fall into a life of crime’” by Fox News’ Louis Casiano – A Florida sheriff’s agency has a secret list of students it believes could “fall into a life of crime” based on their grades and discipline histories, according to media reports. The Pasco Sheriff’s Office uses data from the Pasco County Schools district and the state Department of Children and Families to compile a list of children from middle and high schools, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Elementary schools are not included. The district’s data shows which students are struggling academically and have missed too many classes, and the FDCF data shows which have been victims or witnesses of child abuse. Parents and students apparently were unaware of the list, according to the newspaper. The sheriff’s office has its own information that — combined with the other two data sets — goes into a system that scores children in 16 categories. They are each assigned a label: On Track, At Risk, Off-Track or Critical. In a statement to Fox News, the sheriff’s office said the list has been mischaracterized. The agency said it’s not a list of those who may become “prolific offenders” but rather a list of those at risk for truancy, mental health issues, self-harm, substance abuse and crime. An 82-page manual school resource officers and deputies are required to read fails to mention the other risks. Instead, it offers five statements that describe efforts to identify kids who are likely to become criminals.
“Florida adds over 9,000 coronavirus cases” by CBS 12’s Sabrina Lolo – Florida added more than 9,000 cases of coronavirus on Thursday, the Florida Department of Health said. The latest numbers show the state has a total of 914,333 cases and 18,030 deaths. That’s 81 more deaths than Tuesday, when the death toll stood at 17,949. Below is a county-by-county look at the latest data…
“Lake Okeechobee water releases will continue to come to Southwest Florida” by Wink News’ Stephanie Byrne – The water releases from Lake Okeechobee will continue heading west down the Caloosahatchee River to Southwest Florida. That’s according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Thursday. That puts our beaches and canals at risk for murky water or algae. The Corps says it committed to stopping releases as soon as possible when they started last month, but, because of November’s rain, it’s a long road ahead to end them. Tea-colored water continues to lap against the shore of the Sanibel Causeway. Another sign of both the Lake Okeechobee releases and local runoff we’ve had for weeks. Colonel Andrew Kelly is the District Commander with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District. He said, “When we initiated releases, we were absolutely committed to stopping the releases as soon as possible.” But now the lake is at 16.34 (Feet-NGVD29), meaning the Corps has no choice but to release water to the estuaries. Kelly said they are continuing what they’ve been doing for the past several weeks, and the Corps will revisit this after Thanksgiving, but since we will see an extended period of time for releases, it is considering reducing or briefly pausing discharges to give the estuaries “Breathers.” “Is there a value or an impact or a mitigation that can happen if we were to either reduce drastically or potentially pause?” Kelly said about the questions they must answer before making changes.
“2020 Election numbers in Florida show dramatic decrease in rejected ballots” by ABC Action News’ Katie LaGrone – We analyzed the number of ballots rejected in Florida during the 2020 General Election and found a dramatic decrease. Data from Florida election offices shows the Sunshine State has another reason to feel pretty delighted about the 2020 General Election. The number of vote by mail ballots rejected for voter errors or missed deadlines is down dramatically. Data provided to us by 62 of Florida’s 67 Supervisors of Elections shows:
· Statewide, at least 14,000 mail-in ballots were rejected for signature issues or missed deadlines
· One-third of the vote by mail ballots in the state arrived late (many election offices don’t consider late arrivals in rejection counts)
· About half of rejected absentee ballots were due to signature issues including missed signatures or missed signatures
Broward County’s Supervisor of Elections, Pete Antonacci, said he was “very pleased” with the dramatic decrease in rejected ballots in his county. In total, his office rejected 223 ballots over signature issues and other voter errors while another 582 vote by mail ballots arrived late and were disqualified from the count.
“Florida woman sentenced for setting up fake law firms” by AP – A Florida woman accused of setting up two fake law firms and pretending to be an attorney has been sentenced to four years and six months in prison. Roberta Guedes, 41, was sentenced Wednesday in Tampa federal court, according to court records. She pleaded guilty last year to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. She was also ordered to pay $14,318 in restitution to her victims. According to court documents, Guedes graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 2014 but twice failed the Florida Bar exam. Despite never being licensed to practice law, Guedes incorporated two fake law firms and set up offices in downtown Tampa. She took on multiple client-victims, representing them in immigration proceedings and family law matters. On some occasions, Guedes impersonated a law school classmate who wasn’t involved Guedes’s sham law firms, officials said. After the Florida Bar began investigating Guedes, she falsified and filed documents to undermine and discredit that investigation.
“Giuliani presses Trump election challenge case in fiery news conference with legal team” by Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer – resident Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani aggressively made the case on Thursday for the Trump campaign’s legal challenge of the 2020 election results, alleging in a fiery news conference that there was a “centralized” plan to carry out voter fraud around the country. This is a different approach than the campaign has recently taken in court, where they have primarily focused on the validity of ballots and counts without asserting fraud. While Giuliani did not present any direct evidence of a massive fraud scheme, Giuliani asserted that this is the “logical conclusion” reached as a result of incidents he said took place in several states. “What I’m describing to you is a massive fraud,” Giuliani said at the Capitol Hill news conference with other members of Trump’s legal team, who repeatedly lashed out at the news media and accused them of treating their efforts unfairly. At one point, Giuliani repeatedly told one reporter: “You’re lying.” His descriptions largely entailed recitations of allegations put forth in several lawsuits that the Trump campaign has filed. Former Vice President Joe Biden is the projected winner in the contest, but the Trump campaign is contesting those calls, raising concerns in several battleground states.
“Trump’s refusal to concede creates strange gap between Biden and Harris on classified intelligence” by CNN’s Zachary Cohen, Jasmine Wright and Jeremy Herb – Vice President-elect Kamala Harris took part in a classified briefing of the Senate Intelligence Committee this week and emerged in a strange position — being more informed about current threats than President-elect Joe Biden but bound by congressional rules to keep that information from him. Harris’ twice-weekly committee briefings fall well short of what the incoming administration is usually getting at this point in a transition but she currently finds herself with more access to classified intelligence than the next commander-in-chief because his predecessor, President Donald Trump is refusing to provide Biden with briefings traditionally offered to an incoming president. Biden and his transition team are becoming increasingly frustrated that they are being blocked from accessing the most sensitive information generated by the US intelligence community as Trump refuses to concede he lost the election. It’s complicating their efforts to build an administration that will take charge of the nation’s security in fraught and unprecedented circumstances that include a deadly pandemic. Experts and advisers tell CNN there’s a world of difference between what Biden can learn from outside experts and the depth of knowledge he would gain from even a limited classified briefing — which he has not received since becoming President-elect.
“Biden Wins Georgia, AP Projects” by WSJ’s Cameron McWhirter and Alexa Corse – President-elect Joe Biden prevailed over President Trump in Georgia’s election, making him the first Democratic presidential candidate in 28 years to win the state, according to the Associated Press projection. Mr. Biden remained ahead in Georgia after a hand recount of the state’s five million presidential votes, the state’s secretary of state said Thursday. With the manual audit complete, Mr. Biden is one step closer to winning Georgia officially. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger must still certify the results, which he is required to do by Friday. Mr. Biden is leading by 12,284 votes, according to the audit results released Thursday. His lead had been a little more than 14,000. Mr. Trump narrowed the margin over the past week, mostly as election workers in some Republican-leaning counties discovered ballots that hadn’t been tallied initially, election officials said. Mr. Raffensperger, a Republican, had ordered election boards in the state’s 159 counties to conduct by-hand recounts of the presidential votes of each ballot. The recounting of ballots began Nov. 13. Mr. Biden by then had already accrued enough Electoral College votes, based on vote counts and projections by the Associated Press, to become the president-elect.
“Marjorie Taylor Greene takes on shutdowns, Fauci during first week in Washington” by Fox News’ Marisa Schultz – Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia’s new 14th District congresswoman, arrived in Washington for freshman orientation immediately taking on mask mandates and coronavirus shutdowns in a preview of how the outspoken conservative Republican won’t shy away from a fight. Greene, a small business owner and first-time politician, called out the mask requirements at the nation’s Capitol, the closure of the hotel gym and COVID-19 restrictions during the transition for new members of Congress — slamming “Democrat tyrannical control.” The rules were in sharp contrast to the openness of her Rome, Ga., hometown where her family can regularly go to the gym, school, play sports and shop — all maskless, she said. As a new member of Congress, Greene said she will fight against any effort to require masks, mandate a vaccine or urge more lockdowns. She believes in personal choice and says the restrictions are hurting too many people economically and psychologically. “I think it’s horrible what we’re doing to this generation of children with these mask mandates and these shutdowns,” Greene told Fox News. “I personally believe the best way to stimulate the economy is to open up and let people go to work,” added Greene, an ex-CrossFit competitor and former gym owner. Greene publicly tweeted her concerns, calling mask-wearing “oppressive.” Later Dr. Anthony Fauci said Greene’s stance was “really very disturbing.” Then Greene pounced on a Danish study that said mask-wearing didn’t make a statistically significant difference in contracting coronavirus.
“Biden says Trump ‘will go down in history as being one of the most irresponsible presidents’” by CNN’s Eric Bradner – President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday that President Donald Trump “will go down in history as being one of the most irresponsible presidents,” as Trump takes extraordinary action to try to subvert the 2020 election’s outcome. In a news conference after meeting with Republican and Democratic governors — part of Biden’s effort to work around the Trump administration’s refusal to allow his transition team access to federal agencies, including those coordinating the coronavirus response — Biden lambasted Trump’s actions, saying that Americans are “witnessing incredible irresponsibility.” The result, he said, is an “incredibly damaging message is being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions.” “It’s hard to fathom how this man thinks. It’s hard to fathom,” Biden said. “It’s just outrageous, what he’s doing.” His comments came after Trump invited Republican state lawmakers from Michigan to the White House on Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter, and he and his legal team mount a multi-state effort to overturn the election’s results in courts or through key states’ Republican legislatures. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and other members of the President’s legal team held a wild news conference Thursday, making a series of unfounded claims about voter fraud without offering evidence. Biden said he is moving forward with building his administration, and has chosen a nominee for Treasury secretary that he intends to announce just before or after Thanksgiving.
“CDC Urges Americans Not to Travel for Thanksgiving” by WSJ’s Melissa Korn, Jennifer Calfas and Betsy McKay – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly urged Americans Thursday not to travel for Thanksgiving, in one of its sharpest warnings to date, as an official said the agency is alarmed by the exponential growth in Covid-19 cases, as well as rising hospitalizations and deaths. With the pandemic in its 11th month in the U.S., many families are grappling with whether to meet up with friends or family for traditional celebrations. About 50 million Americans are expected to travel in the coming days, which is traditionally the busiest travel period of the year. But the holiday comes at a particularly precarious time in the current virus surge, and doctors and government officials say even gathering with one other household is too much of a risk. “Covid-19 is turning out to be quite a formidable foe,” Henry Walke, the incident manager for the agency’s Covid-19 response, said in a briefing with reporters. “We must unite in our efforts against this virus and now more than ever, not let down our guard.” The U.S. reported 170,161 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the second highest daily toll of the pandemic and well more than double the number of daily cases reported at the height of the summertime surge. Hospitalizations and ICU admissions continue to set new records, taxing health-care systems in Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin and elsewhere. Covid-19 deaths crossed the quarter-million mark Wednesday, with 50,000 new deaths in just the past two months.
“Ilhan Omar fires back at Dem colleagues for urging moderation” by Fox News’ Sam Dorman – Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., fired back on Thursday at Democratic colleagues who suggested she and other members of the progressive squad had weakened the party by dragging it too far to the left. “As soon as the election was over … we have seen the pundits and some of the leaders within the Democratic Party, or even some of our colleagues, who are freshmen, talk about us getting back to basics — saying you know, the squad — Alex[andria Ocasio-Cortez], Ilhan, Rashida [Tlaib], all of you have to stop talking about everything you talk about, because we need to get back to basics,” Omar said at a rally at Capitol Hill. “So, I was confused because I thought what is more basic than fighting for clean water? What is more basic than fighting for a breathable planet? What is more basic than trying to make sure we get health care for people?” she asked, before adding a litany of other causes. Her comments were the latest salvo in what appeared to be an ongoing civil war that intensified after Democrats saw disappointing results down ballot in the 2020 elections. Observers have blamed the losses on pushing policies like the Green New Deal and “Medicare for all,” which exceed the cost and scope of other policies pursued by moderate Democrats. The moderate vs. progressive divide erupted during a caucus call just days after the election, where Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., urged the party to stay away from ideas typically associated with the left flank of her party. Spanberger was particularly animated and yelled during the call, Fox News confirmed. She told her colleagues: “We lost races we shouldn’t have lost. Defund the police almost cost me my race because of an attack ad. Don’t say socialism ever again. We need to get back to basics.”
“Mnuchin Declines to Extend Several Fed Emergency Lending Programs” by WSJ’s Nick Timiraos and Kate Davidson – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would allow several emergency Federal Reserve lending programs to expire, opening a divide with the central bank, which had pressed for an extension. As a result, on Dec. 31 several novel Fed programs that have backed corporate credit and municipal-borrowing markets and that have provided loans to small and midsize businesses and nonprofits during the coronavirus pandemic will end. In a letter to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell released to the public after markets closed Thursday, Mr. Mnuchin said the programs “have clearly achieved their objectives.” Credit markets, which nearly froze in March as the pandemic triggered a financial shock, have been rehabilitated, Mr. Mnuchin said. “Banks have the lending capacity to meet the borrowing needs of their corporate, municipal and nonprofit clients,” he said. The central bank signaled disappointment in his decision. “The Federal Reserve would prefer that the full suite of emergency facilities established during the coronavirus pandemic continue to serve their important role as a backstop for our still-strained and vulnerable economy,” the Fed said in a statement. Mr. Powell had indicated in remarks Tuesday that he didn’t think it would be appropriate to allow the programs to expire. “When the right time comes, and I don’t think that time is yet or very soon, we will put those tools away,” he said. Industry analysts have warned that Mr. Mnuchin’s decision would risk unsettling markets—which for various reasons have been volatile around the end of recent years—by weakening a key source of assurance that fueled investors’ optimism, especially as the economic recovery slows amid rising coronavirus cases. Turning off the market backstops was always going to prove tricky to manage, said Krishna Guha, vice chairman of Evercore ISI. “The question is when is the right time to do it in a way that doesn’t run any risk whatsoever of a resumption of market stress.”
Joe Biden – Wearing a mask isn’t a political statement — it’s a patriotic duty.